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The president announced Wednesday, a deconfinement in several stages from May, if the incidence rate of the virus allows it. Health professionals are divided on this strategy but all agree on one point: only vaccination will make it possible to permanently get rid of the virus.
In the aftermath of Emmanuel Macron’s announcements on the stages of deconfinement published by the regional press, Thursday, April 29, in several regional press titles, health professionals hesitate between relief and concern.
The executive’s plan calls for a return to normal in four stages, from the beginning of May to the end of June. The first, on May 3, will be the end of the travel restriction to 10 kilometers around his home and the return of students to middle and high schools.
On May 19, the national curfew currently set at 7 p.m. will be moved to 9 p.m., announced Ouest-France, which was among the titles that participated in an interview with the regional press. This day will also mark the reopening of shops and terraces of bars and restaurants, with a maximum of six people per table. Museums, cinemas, theaters and performance halls will also reopen, with gauges limited to 800 people indoors, 1,000 outdoors and a seated audience. Ditto for sports speakers.
The return of indoor cafes and restaurants, with tables of up to six people, is announced for June 9, when the curfew will be delayed to 11 p.m., before being completely lifted on June 30. Finally, from July 1, it will be possible to participate in events of more than 1,000 people, on condition of having a health pass (negative test of less than 72 hours or certificate of immunity).
“There are too few people vaccinated to prevent the virus from circulating”
For Bruno Megarbane, head of the medical and toxicological resuscitation department at Lariboisière hospital in Paris, contacted by France 24, this plan is “quite realistic”, in particular thanks to the fact that it only provides for the end of deconfinement “the most risky circumstances, such as gatherings”.
But for the caregiver, it is essential to “explain clearly that this plan can only work on two conditions: maintaining compliance with all barrier measures at least until the end of June, and a significant acceleration of vaccination. ”
Epidemiologist and biostatistician Catherine Hill also asserts that only vaccination can be a lasting barrier against the epidemic, but she believes that the number of people vaccinated is still largely insufficient to initiate deconfinement.
“The figures have been falling for a few days but the drop is modest. We are almost at the level where in November we decided to confine […] There are too few people vaccinated to prevent the virus from circulating. So people will move more, meet more people and contamination will again increase quite quickly, ”she warned on the France 24 antenna.
Friday, April 30, 6,320,274 people had received two doses of the anti-Covid vaccine, or only 9.43% of the French population, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
According to Catherine Hill, as long as the European Union does not have the number of doses necessary to vaccinate a large part of the population quickly, the solution lies on the side of testing. “You have to find people who are positive before they have symptoms. It can be done with saliva tests and pooled tests. It would go much faster, you would isolate contagious people before they do. have symptoms, ”she advocates.
“The risk is that people think it’s over”
If Bruno Megarbane is more confident and believes that “the epidemic is regressing”, he is worried about the second phase of deconfinement, from May 19, when the terraces, museums and theaters will reopen. “The risk is that at that point, people believe it’s over,” said the department head.
This concern is all the more justified as the number of contaminations should be around 15,000 per day in mid-May, estimates Bruno Megarbane. “We will therefore be above the 5,000 contaminations per day which allow us to say that the epidemic is under control”.
Still according to the doctor, only vaccination will prevent a fourth wave of the epidemic. For the moment, “the most important risk” which the country faces is that “of a slowing down of the regression of the epidemic” which would place it “on a plateau which never ends”, warns Bruno Megarbane.
The head of the intensive care unit insists: “A fourth rebound in the epidemic awaits us in September-October if the population has not been sufficiently vaccinated or if there is a new variant.”.